Be Sure; Be Very Sure!
Read Amos Chapter 4
Am 4:4 “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. 5 Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign LORD. 6 “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.
Verse four has a very unusual instruction from the Lord. “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more.” The entire book of Amos is a call for God’s people to repent of their disobedience. In today’s world the doctrine of hyper-grace is growing rapidly. Yet we see throughout the Old Testament examples of God’s LACK of grace toward those who reject His pathway. We will also see an example of that in the New Testament later in today’s discussion. It was obvious to the Lord that the Israelites were so far off track that they would not come back to His ways voluntarily. Verse six shows that He disciplined them, but they did not listen.
There are four other verses in this chapter which include this phrase: “yet you have not returned to Me.” No matter what kind of disciplines God administered, His people refused to respond. There is a great parallel to that picture going on today. We see all kinds of disobediences going on around us, and people refusing to listen to and heed God’s word. People are living together without the benefit of marriage, having babies out of wedlock, able-bodied men willing to live off of government programs rather than work, and yes, living in sexual same-sex relationships and unwilling to conform their lives to God’s standards. The worst part is that many of them claim to be Christian.
Amos gives another warning in chapter 5.
Am 5:14 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say He is. 15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
Verse 14 suggests that the people Amos addressed were confident that they were right with God. However, Amos’ message to them is clear – they are NOT right with God. In order for their relationship with God to be where they believed it to be, they would have to change their ways. They would have to seek good, not evil, so that they might live. That message is very relevant to any of us who refuse to repent of our sins. If we are not seeking God’s ways, refusing to rid ourselves of our open rebellion, we are not in right relationship with God. A Christian definitely cannot continue in rebellion. If he can, his faith in Christ is not real.
Am 5:18 Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. 19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. 20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
This warning from Amos is terrifying! There will be many men and women who will find out too late that their lives were lived in futility. Lord, please awaken these men and women from their slumber. Open their eyes to the truth!
Oh, here is that NT example I promised.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’
Each of us must examine our own lives. Are we striving for sexual purity? Is becoming Christ-like our number one goal in this life? Have we allowed ourselves to become blind in regard to God’s words condemning homosexual lusts and acts? We cannot afford to allow ourselves to be fooled, deceived by the father of this world.
Prayer: We’ve already stated part of our prayer: Lord, please awaken these men and women from their slumber. Open their eyes to the truth! We would also add, Lord, don’t allow us to be deceived. How horrible it will be for anyone who finds out too late that their life was a sham, and there no longer remains an opportunity to repent.